On May 30, rescuers from several groups spent the day at the Havasupai Indian Reservation in the Grand Canyon, providing veterinary services to the tribe’s horses and offering education on proper equine care. Ricky Williams, Ranch Manager for Equine Voices Rescue & Sanctuary, led a blind, underweight wrangler on a final trek up the canyon wall and towards a new life. The horse was willingly relinquished to Equine Voices by his abusive owner.

Williams named the stallion Samson after the brave, powerful warrior in the Bible – a name that he has well earned. Samson is about 200 pounds underweight and blind due to a beating from his former owner. His hooves are cracked and rough from carrying people and supplies up and down an eight-mile stretch of steep canyon several times a day.

The trip onto reservation lands was organized by the Humane Society and rescue workers from Equine Voices and another local group, Healing Hearts Animal Rescue and Refuge, joined in the effort. The Havasupai tribe has long been suspected of mistreating the mules and horses used on the canyon trail, with some members even facing criminal abuse charges.

The rescuers hope that the goodwill forged during their visit to the reservation will result in continued improvement in the horses’ living and working conditions.

“We taught them a lot about horse care and we really worked with the tribe,” Williams told KVOA “We were able to service about seventy horses- trimming hooves, floating teeth, vaccinations.”

Despite his former abuse, Samson is one of the lucky ones. He will be rehabilitated – emotionally and physically – and receive socialization training with humans. It may be a long road to recovery, but he will never again suffer the abuse and neglect of his past.

“He’s going to really need to start from scratch again and re-learn what he knew in the past,” Williams said. “He’ll really have to learn trust here as he’s at the ranch and he’ll get plenty of that. And we’re happy just to be a part of it.”

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